Philadelphia’s Best Bars

Our 85 favorite places to start a tab


The Franklin Mortgage and Investment Co.
Drinks like the Cowboy Killer and Oh, Sweet Nothing will change the way you think about cocktails forever. And the fact that you get to drink them underground and in the dark just makes them double-awesome.

Oyster House
Yeah, we know damn well that a few Oyster House Punches will lay us out flat, but we just can’t stop drinking them.

Alma de Cuba
The vibe was super-cool 10 years ago. Not so much today. But Alma is still the standby for groups who want one more drink at the end of the night. Inevitably, they end up having more than one more.

The Farmers’ Cabinet
This place is what would happen if Ridley Scott were directing a happy hour for beer snobs, cocktail historians, Jazz Age hep cats and righteous old drunks. It’s one of the strangest and most amazing places to have a drink in Philly right now.

One of the very few classic cocktail bars in the city that can make a $15 drink that’s worth every penny.

It’s the beautiful atmosphere that makes the $11 cocktails go down easier. And if you ever need a temporary escape, the Parisian bar here might be one of the least Philly-feeling places in the entire city.

Yes, it’s a mash-up of prowling cougars, rich socialites and Ed Hardy-wearing jackasses, but there’s no better place for watching the Rittenhouse society set get bombed on glasses of rosé and heavy pours from the bar.

Most people go here for the duck hearts and lamb’s tongue. We go for the bar; it’s one of the most underrated in town.

Caribou Café
Parc too snooty? Go here instead. It’s got the same Gallic soul and French cocktails, but without the pretension.

Varga Bar
The pinup girls on the ceiling are like muses swirling round the heads of good drinkers, and the black-and-white Deco styling makes you feel classy even if you’re drinking merlot with an ice cube in it.

Terrible name, but a good bar in the former Bar Lyonnaise space below Le Bec-Fin. If this is Georges Perrier’s attempt at attracting a younger demographic, it’s working, with its swanky take on non-Prohibition-era cocktailing.

Ranstead Room
Think of it as a grittier, more authentic backup when you can’t get into Franklin Mortgage. A perfect makeout bar because it’s pitch-black and has pictures of boobs everywhere—plus, the craft cocktails are delicious and will knock you flat. 2013 Ranstead Street, 215-563-3330.

Pub & Kitchen
A place that’s serious about its food and drink, but still remembers that the reason people go out drinking in the first place is to have some fun.

Twenty Manning Grill
After a couple cocktails at the bar, being here is like drinking in a cloud of cotton candy and beautiful people.

While the main action at A.Kitchen might be happening among the local celebrities on the floor, those who really know what they like hide out at the bar for excellent cocktails that perfectly marry classicism and modern mixology.

Continental Midtown
Perfect for precisely two things: 1) as a spot to drink martinis; and 2) as a spot to drink enough martinis that you won’t be bothered by the fact that you’re drinking with the crowd that frequents the Continental.

Village Whiskey
It’s small, it’s crowded, and getting through the door on a busy night can be a nightmare. But in the off-hours, this is actually one of our favorite places in the city to drink, because there’s nothing in the world that pairs quite so well as a $70 pour of whiskey, neat, and a $3 order of tater tots.

Perrier has always claimed this is his “casual” restaurant. It isn’t. But having a drink at the well-appointed bar can be.

An oasis of sanity and refinement in Old City. Where neighborhood grown-ups come to drink something that doesn’t come in a 40-ounce can spiked with caffeine.

Square 1682
There’s not much that can make us drink in a hotel bar, but this place sometimes offers specials that are irresistible: hot toddies on a freezing January day, champagne cocktails in the middle of February. If you’re in the mood to feel fancy, you could do a lot worse than drinking here.

Six-dollar cocktails at the happy hour here (atop the Bellevue) are the perfect way to feel like a classy gent while getting loaded on less than $20.

Anton’s at The Swan
Like partying at some musty old English manor house, but down the back stairs, with the servants.

Finally, a hotel bar swanky enough to truly call the Main Line home.

To read about the city’s best craft beer bars, click here.